Late Summer Blues

As the summer winds down along the Great Allegheny Passage some of the rarer wildflowers of the region appear.

The water gaps through Laurel and Chestnut Ridges, in Ohiopyle State Park, are noted for microhabitats that harbor plants found in only a few places in western Pennsylvania. One of those plants is southern blue monkshood (Aconitum uncinatum L.).

This trailing plant isn't is vine-like, draping over adjacent plants. The distinctive flowers are blue hoods over equally blue petals surrounding the internal parts.

It is found in several places along the Youghiogheny River, in shady spots directly adjacent to the water. It is also found in moist edges right alongside the trail. One of the best locations is at Mile 63 between Confluence and the Ramcat Run Access.

Just north of the Mile 63 marker look for southern blue monkshood on the same side of the trail as the mile marker. The trailing stems are mixed with blackberry canes, blooming wingstem, and other taller plants on which the blue flowers hang from leaf axils.

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